Marvel celebrates 50 years of Spider-Man by giving him a sidekick

Peter Parker has been more or less a one-man show since his 1962 debut in Amazing Fantasy #15. Tomorrow, in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #692, all that will change.

He's a bit of an eternal teenager, that Spidey. He's a self-loather who covers up his lack of confidence with a funny quip. So the notion that he could be a mentor, even after all these years, is hard to fathom. But that's the plan. This Wednesday, Andy Maguire (a play off the names of the last two actors to play the web-slinger) will become Spider-Man's sidekick.

Axel Alonso, editor at Marvel Entertainment, thinks it makes sense: "He's older, more seasoned, but young at heart. He's still a young man, but he's been around. It's interesting because it flips the paradigm. Teen hero Spider-Man is now responsible for this teen hero sidekick. He's responsible because one of his inventions caused this kid to get his powers. He's directly responsible for the responsibility this kid now has with his new powers. He feels he has a responsibility to make sure this kid walks the right path, which won't prove easy."

It's a twist on the Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's core concept for Spider-Man—with great power comes great responsibility. This time, the responsibility is as much Peter's as it is Andy's.

What's genuinely refreshing is that this idea represents an actual risk for the character and, in turn, for Marvel, Even writer Dan Slott admits, "We're 50 years in and he's never had a sidekick because part of you goes, he shouldn't, he really shouldn't have a sidekick because he's the ultimate loner."

Can Peter Parker truly fill the shoes of Uncle Ben? What sort of a young man will Andy Maguire be? It's just the kind of question worth getting excited about, don't you think?

(via NY Daily News)